Mahaska Health Partnership Offers Tips on Choosing Probiotics

Mahaska Health Partnership

MAHASKA COUNTY – A common topic in digestive health is probiotics, but the options available can be overwhelming. MHP General Surgeon Tim Breon, MD, FACS, offers advice on choosing ones that are right for you.

Dr. Breon stresses the importance of keeping the digestive system working well. If you experience digestive issues due to stress or illness, a talk with your primary care provider about probiotics may be of benefit. “Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast that benefit your overall health, especially your digestive system,” Dr. Breon explained. “While we usually associate bacteria with the harmful kind that make us sick, these actually aid in keeping your gut healthy and are found both naturally within our bodies and in some food.”

Probiotics help replace the good bacteria in your body once your natural supply is depleted. “If you’ve taken antibiotics, the medication removes both good and bad bacteria, so a probiotic is a great way to replenish the good kind,” Dr. Breon shared. “The good kind of bacteria also helps keep bad bacteria at bay and aid your body in normal functions.”

While there are multiple types of bacteria classified as probiotics, there are two main groups. “Depending on your needs, your options fall into one of two types,” Dr. Breon said. “Lactobacillus, which is the most common type, is found in yogurt and fermented foods. These may help with diarrhea and the breakdown of lactose, which is the sugar found in milk products. If you have other digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or Crohn’s disease, Bifidobacterium might be a better option. These are also found in some dairy products.”

The best form of probiotics is found in fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and pickles. However, there are supplements available. “It’s best to try and get in some fermented foods each day, but aim for at least two or three servings per week,” Dr. Breon encouraged. “There are powder, liquid or pill versions of probiotics available over-the-counter. I recommend discussing your needs with your primary care provider.”

When considering a probiotic, it’s important to remember their primary role is to keep your system functioning regularly. “If you have issues with regular bowel movements or certain digestive system conditions, it might be time to discuss the option of a probiotic with your primary care provider,” Dr. Breon advised. “Constipation and irregularity can lead to complications including polyps and blockages in your colon, so it’s important to ensure you’re taking good care of your system.”

In addition to eating well for your colon health, Dr. Breon recommends keeping up with regular colon screenings. “Starting at age 50, or sooner if there’s a medical reason to, it’s recommended to get regular colonoscopies every 10 years,” Dr. Breon urged. “There are also tests that can be performed between colonoscopies to ensure your colon is healthy.”

General Surgeon Tim Breon, MD, FACS, is an experienced, Board Certified Surgeon specializing in traditional, laparoscopic and robotic-assisted surgical treatments. Dr. Breon commonly performs operations on the colon as well as the gallbladder, female anatomy and appendix. Dr. Breon grew up on a farm near Hedrick, Iowa. He chose to practice at MHP to ensure advanced surgical care, focused on the whole body, is available to all patients in need of routine or emergent intervention.

Mahaska Health Partnership, located in Oskaloosa, is a non-profit health system accredited by the Joint Commission. It is guided by its mission to provide exceptional customer service and health improvement, linking the science of medicine with the humanity of compassionate care. For more information about how Mahaska Health Partnership is making healthcare personal, visit



Posted by on Apr 21 2017. Filed under Lifestyle. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed


Search Archive

Search by Date
Search by Category
Search with Google
Log in | Copyright by Oskaloosa News